Remember back when movie tickets cost 50? Neither do I. Movie theaters nowadays are astronomically expensive. From movie tickets to popcorn, boxes of nachos to fountain drinks, everything about movie theaters today is far more expensive than the simpler times in the past. Is the expense truly worth it? Consider the cost of movie tickets themselves: in 2008, the average cost of a ticket was $7.18. Per person, that's quite a bit for just a couple hours of entertainment. If you took the whole family, the cost of admission alone would quickly dent your wallet. Evening movies are even worse, with prices as high as $13.50 per ticket. Remember that one the next time you decide to go on a date.
Once you've crossed the threshold and are finally into the theater, you're presented with a veritable smorgasbord of delectable delights. There's popcorn, candy, hot dogs oh my! But wait, first let's take a look at the prices of such delicacies. Average cost of popcorn: $6.45 for a small, $9.50 for a medium, and for the family size bucket, $11.50. You pay nearly as much as admission in order to obtain a 64-ounce bucket of lightly fluffed corn kernels. Smother it in processed liquid margarine (which movie theaters use to keep costs low; see the irony?), and the additional cost on your liver and stomach could turn out to be much more than expected.
And since you'll need a drink to quench all your thirst, why not buy a soda? For $6, you can get a 12-ounce cup, or for $8 you can get the slightly larger 20-ounce fountain beverage. But wait! There's more! Small candies often run about $3.50-$5, for those two Reese's cups or that bag of M&Ms; large candies can be as high as $7 or $8.
All in all, the expense of going to the movie theater can quickly add up, as the number of individuals and their overall necessity for a sugar high increase.
Some smart things to do, if you do decide to go to the movie theaters, plan ahead. Know how many people are going, so you can prepare for admission prices. If possible, go during the early afternoon, when tickets are less expensive. Also, if you want to snack on something during the movies, bring a small bag of treats or popcorn in a Ziploc bag, and put it in your pocket. Often movie theaters don't allow outside food or drink, in the attempt to force you to purchase from them. I say nay-nay to overpriced garbage, so instead try grabbing something from the 99 Cent store or your local grocery store. Prices are guaranteed to be lower than at the movies, and your wallet will thank you for the kind deed performed. Plus what the movie theaters don't know won't hurt them. Just be discreet about smuggling in your candy fix for the day.
You could also skip the movies entirely. Sure the new releases might look good, but what if you go and spend all that money and find out the movie wasn't so fantastic? There's always the opportunity to wait a few months, delay instant gratification, and rent the movie on DVD or Blu-Ray at a fraction of the cost. Yes, an afternoon at the movies can be relaxing and fun. Just make sure you're fully prepared for the consequences when, after those few hours of bliss, you realize your wallet has been crying the entire time.